Results tagged “malden” from Hawk Talk - Christian

As I sit here in my warm and cozy blue-walled room, I began to reminisce on the past week.  From December 19 to December 27, 2008 (9:26am to be exact), tons and tons of things happened - finals, two winter storms, the holiday rush at Hallmark, finishing up Christmas presents,  Christmas, "The New Black Friday," and my friends' little Kelly's Roast Beef Christmas party.  It doesn't seem like a lot to many people, but to me, as that laid back kid who takes everything easy (kind of), it's definitely enough for me to stay in bed for days! 

So to make life simple for my blog readers, I'm going to blog about my experiences during that small week and give you the inside look of what I did and how I felt during the storms, Christmas, and others that I mentioned before.  Honestly, I'm not here to blog all about me (even if it's going to end up like that), but I'm just putting myself out there just to see if you all had the same experiences during this week.  I'm definitely welcoming all of your comments!!!!



So let's start off my first blog in the series with a bunch of photos from the first Winter Storm:


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This is me driving in Wakefield by the lake.  You can't really see it, but it was snowing very heavily.  This was part of my 2 hour trek home from Wilmington to Malden, MA.

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Here is the picture of the lake... oh, I mean snow and fog hovering over the lake.  The storm #1's visibility was probably less than 100 feet.  That itself made my commute home even worse.

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That white thing in the back is my car covered in snow.  My family was in the process of clearing out my dad's car.  My car was never really cleared off until Monday due to ice and more snow.

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This is the Malden Station intersection at Exchange St.  Obviously the storm blanketed the streets and sidewalks.  You can't even tell where the sidewalk is!!


I think my photos basically tell you this:  THIS STORM WAS BAD HORRENDOUS!!!!  My street was never plowed completely either.  When they finally plowed my street out, they dumped everything on front of my house.  So my shoveled out driveway was once again (actually it happened three times) covered in snow - thank you plowers!  Despite the circumstances, I still braved out the storm with two LONG drives.  My first drive was from Wilmington to Malden, which took two hours.  I seriously thought I was not going to make it because my Mazda 3 was slipping everywhere!  I've never had problems driving in the snow with my car, since it's has front-wheel drive, but I guess the storm was too strong for my little car.  My second drive was my trek to pick up my sister at Malden Station.  This time I used my dad's Subaru Outback, which has 4WD.  That trek took 45minutes to an hour which included waiting for my sister's train.  After the end of a night full of daredevil driving and shoveling to exhaustion (sorry it's not called the Wingate Anaerobic Test), I jumped into my bed and went to sleep.


Since my car was buried in snow from Storm #1 and Storm #2, and altogether iced up for days, I had to get rides home to work the next couple of days to and from work, which was also not pretty commute-wise.  In a sentence or so, Storm #2 was like Storm #1 except that it didn't dump that much snow and it was shorter.  But they both had the same results - horrible driving conditions, near-to-blind whiteout driving, and a major headache at the end of the night.

Through all of this, I'm happy to say my back did not hurt from shoveling!!  You have to thank the physical therapists at work for showing their patients and me how to shovel correctly!

That's enough about the "Twin Storms" for now...
-Christian

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My next blog will focus on the Holiday Rush. - CT

Commuter Heaven!!!!!!

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Please, tell me. 

Did I die?

Is the world ending?

... Hmm, maybe I'm going insane.

Is this real?

I remember a day in mid-July, with the temperatures soaring to a good 90 degrees, and the sky muggy from the trapped humidity.  I was sitting in my Mazda 3 driving down Rt. 99 from Everett and I noticed that my tank is close to empty (again).  So I decided to catch the closest gas station around to put something in my tank.  Unfortunately, I did not drive up to the closest station.  To tell you the truth, I drove around a little bit.  No, I was not trying to kill my tank so my car would die in the summer's heat.  I was just trying to find the "cheapest" gas.  After a good 10-15 minute drive, I decided to just pull up into one, ask for $10 "regular" in my tank, cancel all my plans and just drive home.  The "regular" price was $4.50.  I was broke throughout the Summer of 2008, a summer that I just want to forget (gas-wise).

Today is November 17, 2008, and I see just the total opposite.  Honestly, I think my prayers have been answered.  Heck, my dreams as a Bostonian driver was answered (and unfortunately, it's not the reconstruction of the "Cloverleaf I-93/I-95 (Rt 128)" Intersection).  For the first time in forever, I finally see gas prices under $2.00 littered in one stretch of road.  This is a dream come true!!!!  I seriously felt a tear falling down my cheek (okay, that was just a mental image in my mind).  The economy is pretty much suffering right now, but the gas prices continue to fall.  In five months, prices went from an eye-sore $4.50 to a beautiful $1.77.  As soon as I saw that, I pulled up and experimented...  Let me explain.

Once in awhile I'll add just $10 of gas when my tank hits the last quarter of the gas meter/viewer (or whatever you call it).  After putting $10 in, I check to see how much the arm of the meter increased.  In July, the arm went up between quarter to a half.  Today, the arm went well above the half mark and closer to 3/4.  I was so dang happy!!!!  So basically I can put $20 worth of gas for a full tank, which is half of what I spent for a full tank in July!  

With gas prices this low, I can finally relax and not worry about emptying my wallet!!!  I can finally save money to buy Christmas presents for my whole family!

So to all commuters out there, take advantage of the low under $2.00 prices, because you'll never know when the prices might jump up close to $5.00.  So fill em' up and drive away!!

Christian





I was browsing through msn.com one night and I came across one of their famous "best of the best" or "top something" lists.  This weeks special was the best places to raise your kids, which labeled the best city in each state.  Curiously, I clicked on Massachusetts.  Next thing you know, the name "Malden, MA" came up.  Oh man, I started to crack up laughing.  How can my hometown be the best city to raise your kids?  Before I start typing a storm of pros and cons, here's some extra information about the selection process.

Cities were picked with at least 50,000 residents and a median family income between $40k - $100k.  Then they had to have good numbers/characteristics in the following criteria was that was listed on businessweekly.com: 

- Affordability (MAJOR PLUS!)
- School Performance
- Number of Schools
- Household Expenditures
- Crime rates
- Air quality
- Job growth
- Family income
- Museums
- Parks
- Theaters
- Diversity, etc. etc.

And with all those standards and criteria, Malden, MA manages to be the top city in the state of Massachusetts.  If you think about how the research was conducted and presented on the site, Malden, MA is actually part of the top 50 best places to raise your kids in the United States.  How crazy is that?
 

Here are the pros about Malden: 


- Like what the website said, Malden is very diverse.  Honestly, I don't see a majority or a minority in this city.  It seems that all the "races" are equal to each other, meaning they all have the same number.  Everyone gets along, which means there is absolutely no type of racism here. 

- School-wise, there are many schools in Malden.  The city built 5 brand new public elementary schools, have 3 high schools, and have two private elementary schools.  Plus there are many great small "schools" within the community.  If you want to learn how to play from the best musicians in the area, look for BMR Music off Salem St!!  

- Sports-wise, Malden has the best recreational and high school programs in the nation.  Malden Babe Ruth continues to offer young players a low registration fee with the best competitive baseball league in the state.  Malden Pop Warner A Squad was so good that they went to the Super Bowl of Pop Warner in Disney's World of Sports Facility in Florida.  It was also aired on ESPN.  Malden High School and Malden Catholic continues to build high caliber sports teams in the Greater Boston League and Catholic Conference respectively... heck I can go on and on about sports! 

- Accessibility is probably the most well known factor.  Malden has two "Orange Line" MBTA subway stops and one commuter rail stop.  Malden is near and is surrounded by major highways:  I-93, Rt. 1, Rt 128 (I-95).  Boston is literally a good 10-15 minutes drive away, so accessing major historical points, entertainment, and sporting events is no problem.  Shopping centers are scattered around Malden also. 

I can go on and on about the great stuff about Malden.



Here are the cons (which actually came up first when I started laughing):

- I think the crime rate here is high with the increasing levels of gang activity, drug trades, and other stupid stuff that goes on during the day and night.  Malden is located near some crime-ridden cities, and it seems that more criminals from other places come here to do their stupid stuff, like drug trades, gang stuff, or stealing products from Stop and Shop. The police are working their butts off trying to get criminals off the street, but crime continues to happen (not their faults).  Honestly, I would not walk by myself in Malden in the early evening to late night hours.  I don't want to get jumped.

- The MCAS scores for Malden increased just a little, but wasn't enough to make Malden Public Schools look like the best of the best.  The program is so obsessed with the MCAS that the majority of the teaching staff only focuses on that test, and not learning outside of it.  Malden is trying its best to promote the arts and increasing their quality of education, but putting their 100% effort on the MCAS lags from actual learning.

- Pot Holes:  Seriously, Malden has some pretty bad roads.  Many major roads still haven't been repaved or totally reconstructed, which is actually hurting the commute.  I've noticed more construction activity during the summer, but I still think Malden needs to fix their roads so the commute would be less bumpy.

- Malden Square??????  Seriously, that square is completely littered with dumb dollar stores.  What happened to the "golden age" when Malden Square was always busy?  If you stepped on the Main St. / Pleasant St. "T" intersection and looked into the square, I bet you would've thrown up at the site of it.  The area just looks so gray... the concrete road doesn't make it look better.  I don't know, maybe it's just me, but Malden Square is sooo boring.  It is true that Malden is trying to improve the square so the "Golden Age" would return again, but right now, it looks like its not happening.  The only three major changes I've seen is the construction of a new apartment building, the new building for the Department of Education, and a new Senior Citizen Community building.  Other than that, the ugliest looking city hall is still sitting on the middle of Pleasant St, which continues to detour traffic since the 1950s (or even later).

Again, I can also go on for the cons.



So in conclusion, I was a bit surprised that Malden was the best place to raise their kids.  I just had a conversation with my dad about this shocking finding, and he just had the total opposite reaction.  He told me that Malden was very good to our family.  My siblings and I never had a problem living here and had the best education from Malden.  And look at us now, I'm a senior in college, my sister is a junior in college, my younger brother is a freshmen also in college, and my youngest brother is a junior in high school.  So, my dad thinks that we got the best out of Malden, from sports to education.

So hats off to Malden, MA for being the best city to raise your children!


Christian
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Today is the day when America chooses its leaders of the future - from state representatives to the president and vice president of the United States.  Also, certain "questions" or policy changes are voted in by the same privileged American citizens.  November 4, 2008 will be the election that no one will never forget. This is the first time America will see a major change from the "presidential norms" of having a Caucasian male president or vice president.  Tomorrow, everyone will know if Mr. Barrack Obama will be the first African-American president, or Mrs. Sarah Palin will be the first female vice-president.  Because of this major change from the "norm," there is a projected record breaking voter turnout.  So today is definitely a crucial part of American history. 

Obviously as a lifetime American citizen, I exercised my right to vote this morning at my voting poll station at the Mystic Valley Charter School gym.  Funny enough, there was a very small line and a minimal wait time.  It literally took me a good 10 minutes to walk in, check-in, get my ballot, fill it out, and check out.  It was a quick process, so I was extremely happy that I got to participate in this historical election in a short time.  Unfortunately, many voters are having problems with lines, wait times, and broken machines across the nation.  I'm just happy to say that my voting session was not an issue.  Come to think of it, the time is 4:00pm and everyone is coming home from work. There is exactly 4 more hours to vote, and from what I saw in the news, there will be even longer lines and wait times!! 

So if you are reading this and you have not voted yet, head out now!!!  The lines will pile-up outside, and the temperature is dropping!  If you hate the cold and hate long lines, go now!  Don't even finish reading this blog!! GO GO!!  

Okay, for those who already voted, congrats! (Ha Ha).  Now is the time when you can just sit here and wait (and do homework obviously).  Seriously, I'm completely excited to hear who's the winner!  History will change no matter who wins/loses.  The way of life may change forever.  The War in Iraq might come to an end.  I just have a big feeling inside (a little nervous actually) on what will happen when the new president gets sworn in.  Will the changes be for the good, or for the worse? There are so many questions that needs to be answered, and I'm hoping our new President can answer them without problems.

So did you do your part today?  (If not, why didn't you stop reading and run out to vote!! Just kidding!).

Christian Tiongson for 2012! (Yeah Right) 


Gone Just Like That

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Have you ever had the feeling... the feeling that you can reach the ultimate goal but fall back to step 1?  I had this feeling when my baseball team lost in the semi-final single-game elimination playoff game.  It wasn't a pretty win at all either.  We only had one hit going into the last inning.  I just wish I can go out on the field myself and make the plays, but only my players can change the way of the game.  All I can do is make the changes in the lineup, positions, and give them encouragement.  When the last out was recorded, my heart just sank not just because of the playoff lost and the elimination, but watching my team together as one for the very last time.  The majority of my team are veterans and future graduates of the league, so they won't be coming back next year.  These are my "15s."  They have been with the team for 3 years.  They all experienced the high points (the league championship when they were 13 years old) and the low points (our 2-13 season last year).  They made my coaching experience worthwhile because I saw each player positively develop as a baseball player and as a person.  I'm proud of their dedication and love for baseball. 

Now, for my 13s and 14s, most of them will be gone also.  I can definitely tell you that I have very talented rookies.  They are so talented that they are most likely (or maybe 100%) going to the Division I league next year.  So if you think about it, I only have 2 returning players out of 13, which will stink for another playoff potential season.  Who knows?  Maybe we'll get a bunch of talented rookies who can bring us to the "motherland" again.  All I can say is that I'm looking forward to next year's season of challenges. 

As I sit here pondering of what should and shouldn't have happened, I look back at the season and think, "wow, this has been one helluva ride."

It's time to hang up the cleats, put all the equipment away, and look at the rest of my summer... I could smell college around the corner.

- Coach Christian

Two nights ago after work, I was driving home while observing the prices of regular gas.  From what I've seen closer to Boston, the regular gas price is hanging around the range of $4.10 - $4.20.  In Malden, so far the regular gas prices are hanging around $3.95 - $3.99; it seems that of Malden's gas stations are reluctant to increase their price to $4.00.  Even with the prices in the high $3.90s, everyone is feeling the burn in their pockets. 

How can I fight this?  To tell you the truth, having a nationwide ban on gas won't help as much.  You need to have gas to drive your car, and you need your car to get to work.  So a lot of people don't like that idea. 

Here are some tips I've adopted from many websites, friends, family, and from personal experiences.

1)  If you need to get to a place that is in a comfortable walking distance (meaning that you can get there without being late, being too exhausted, or being out in the heat), you shouldn't jump into your car.  Instead grab your bicycle, or put on some running/walking shoes, and walk to your destination!  Like I said many times in the past blogs, physical activity will lead to a better and healthy life.  Stay active by walking, jogging, and biking to where you want to go!

2)  Take public transportation.  Sure, the bus and train prices have increased a lot in the past few years.  But paying $1.25 with your CharlieCard (plastic rechargable money card that gives you quick access to the MBTA) is worth it.  Would you rather spend $20 for 5 gallons of gas (assuming your car can hold 22 miles per gallon when you do some city driving), or save a lot by traveling the same distance with a $1.25? 

3)  Continue with scheduled maintenance.  It is always good to change your oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles, and do other types of maintenance jobs on your vehicle.  Keeping your car in top shape will help your engine and other parts of your car to last longer.  There is a possibility your car will have better fuel efficiency also. 

4)  Don't use the air conditioner when its comfortable outside.  I've seen people (at times that includes me) use the AC when its not too hot outside.  Using the AC consumes more gas.  It is alright to use the AC during the hot weather, but it is smart not to use it when the temperatures aren't soaring into the upper 90s and the heat index is close to 110. 

5)  Don't "gun" it or go over the speed limit.  There are two main reasons why there are speed limits.  Number 1 - safety of other drivers.  Number 2 - help save gas.  Time to get into physics... When you drive above the speed limit (let's say 65 over 55mph limit), your car will experience more resistance or drag force from the atmosphere.  More force your car has to overcome, the more gas you will consume.  I don't remember where I saw this but I remember that 55mph is the best speed to drive if you want to save gas.  Also, pressing hard on the pedal will consume more gas.

6)  Keep your tires inflated.  This may be included in your regular maintenance schedule, but I think its best to always check your tire pressure in your car.  If you drive your vehicle with somewhat deflated tires, your car will drag more.  Let's use this analogy - when you go to the beach and walk on the sand, you noticed that its very difficult to walk.  You use more energy trying to walk on a tough terrain.  When you walk on the boardwalk, it is a lot easier and you use less energy.  This is exactly what happens to your vehicle with deflated tires.  Your vehicle will require more gas to reach your destination.  More gas, more waste.

 

That is all I can think of for now, but there are tons of resources out there in the Internet.  Recently, Governor Patrick launched a website that contains valuable information about gas prices with hints and tips.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GOVERNOR'S GASOLINE SITE!

 

Well time for me to help out with my brother's graduation party!  I hope you all have a great weekend!!  If you want to say anything about what I've said in my blog, you can leave a comment by clicking the "Comments" button above my blog post. 

- Christian

Addicted to Baseball

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Like what my friend said, baseball is like an art.  There are many different approaches to the painting (the game), different techniques and styles (ways of hitting, fielding, running, etc), and only one can paint that picture (a pitcher throwing the ball, a fielder catching a pop fly, a hitter hitting the ball). During your time thinking of what to do to paint that picture, you can feel the silence of the air while the pitcher takes a deep breath against the lonely blue sky above, as the sun slowly yet steadily sets on the horizon.  If you just sit there on the bench, listen and hear the silence, you definitely know you are in a world only a few can understand.  Everything is perfect - the diamond's 90ft outline, the athletic positions of the players, the stoic faces of the coaches, the umpire's stance before the pitch and the batter's focus and understanding of the situation, the picture.  Sure, perfection in many people's sense may mean an error-less, flaw-less situation or setting.  There are sure times when errors occur in baseball or players falter because of injuries or soreness.  But the way the game is played, the way a team stays focused for that ball that was hit, or the stride you take towards the hit - it just makes the game so enjoyable and worthwhile - just like perfection.  I bet I'm not making any sense at all.  Maybe you don't have the same love for baseball, the same feel for it, and the same respect to all its dimensions.  A good movie to watch to understand this feeling or to get you to understand what baseball means to me is The Field of Dreams.  This movie makes grown men cry - unfortunately I did not cry but I was moved from it.

As I sit here listening to the crickets outside, dusting off the baseball dirt from Maplewood Park, I just sit here amazed on how much I have given to the league and its players.  I still can't believe I've been coaching for six seasons already - 3 in Little League and 3 in Babe Ruth with one championship under my belt.  And now I'm still here strong and willing.  Now I volunteered to coach a great group of 14 to 15 year old kids who are probably the best in Babe Ruth.  Even if I chose to coach this team, I still feel honored for being their coach.  This 24 Hour Tournament I'm part of is one event of many for the 50th Anniversary for Malden Babe Ruth.  It is basically a set of games that the players can play for free and showcase their talent to the public.  There are no winners or losers.  We are basically raising money for the Jimmy Fund.

Then after that game I have two choices.  I can either go to Lynn and watch the North Shore Navigators play the Team USA Baseball squad or play a coach's softball game around 5:30pm.  So many choices, so little time. 

I'm growing tired and I promised one of my regular season players that I will watch his 3am game, which is part of that same tournament.  I will leave you with this remarkable speech Terrence Mann gave near the end of Field of Dreams -

"Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come" (imdb.com).

- Coach Christian


If you want to come support the Jimmy Fund and watch the baseball game that I will coach, you can come down to Pine Banks Park (Kezer Field) at the Malden/Melrose, MA line around 9am June 14, 2008.  It is right on Main St. near the MBTA Oak Grove Station.  My younger brother who plays for the Malden Marlins will play the final game of the tournament around 3pm the same day.  I hope to see you there!

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